UCR's Crain Repeats As Player of the Year
2016 Big West Women's Basketball All-Conference Teams
UC Riverside’s Brittany Crain claimed another place in the history books as she earned the Big West Player of the Year honor for the second consecutive season. The award was one of two that the Highlanders claimed following a historic 16-0 run though conference play.
In addition to Crain, UCR head coach John Margaritis claimed the Coach of the Year honor for the second time in his tenure. The last major honor went to standout rookie Channon Fluker who earned the Freshman of the Year award.
Crain, a native of Moreno Valley, Calif., is the first . The senior leads the league in scoring at 22.3 points per game, upping her average to 26.9 a game during Big West play. Crain has two of the top three scoring efforts in the league, including a Big West-high and personal best 39 points in a road win over Cal State Fullerton on February 11. Crain’s relentless scoring spree also pushed her past 2,000 career points, making her just the seventh player in league history to cross that barrier. Currently Crain holds the fourth slot on the Big West career charts with 2,277 points, making her just the fourth player in league history with at least 2,200 points. Crain also earned five Player of the Week accolades, giving her 10 for the season. That number makes her one of just five players with a minimum of 10 career weekly awards. In addition to her 22.3 scoring average, Crain is averaging 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 steals, shot 47.2% from the floor, 39.3 from deep and 83.7% from the foul line.
Hailing from Pasadena, Calif., Fluker has put together one of the finest freshman seasons in recent memory. Fluker is averaging 13.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, the only player in the Big West averaging a double-double. Speaking of double-doubles, Fluker is tied for the league lead with 12, all of which came during conference play. Fluker is the lone player in the league to post a 30-point, 10-rebound double-double, picking up four of them. She recorded the most rebounds in a game this season, having pulled down 19 boards on two occasions. Fluker was even better in conference play, averaging 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds and shooting 55.2% from the floor. She is the first Matador to win the Freshman of the Year award since 2012 and the third overall.
Margaritis led the Highlanders to their most successful season in the program’s DI history, recording 23 wins and earning the program’s first Big West regular season title since 2006-07. Despite a rash of injuries UC Riverside also went 16-0 in Big West play, the first team since UC Santa Barbara in 2001-02 to escape unscathed during the league slate. Margaritis led the squad to its first win in Hawai’i in program history, coached two first team All-Big West players and won the Coach of the Year honor for the first time since 2006-07 and second time overall.
The first team All-Big West team only has one repeat player as Crain earned her third first team acoolade. She is joined on the team by fellow seniors Alyson Doherty of UC Davis and Destiny King of Hawai’i, while two juniors were honored in Réjane Verin of UC Riverside and Raven Benton of Long Beach State. Fluker also made the list as a freshman, the first in the league since former Matador Ofa Tulikihihifo achieved the feat in 2003. The rest of the All-Conference teams can be found in the link above.